Mayonnaise is a popular treatment for getting rid of head lice. It is affordable and safe. However, mayonnaise does not remove nits, the eggs laid by head lice. If you use mayonnaise to kill head lice, you will have to use another method, such as combing with a fine-toothed comb, to remove nits. It is important to remove all the nits, or you will have more head lice as soon as the nits hatch.
Using Mayonnaise to Get Rid of Head Lice
- Apply as much mayonnaise as you can to the entire head of hair. Be sure to coat each strand of hair thoroughly in mayonnaise.
- Wrap the head tightly in plastic wrap. You can also use a shower cap, if the cap fits tightly over the hair. It is important to prevent any air from flowing in.
- Leave the mayonnaise on the hair for at least two hours. For best results, you may want to leave the mayonnaise on even longer. If possible, leave the mayonnaise on overnight.
- Rinse out the mayonnaise and shampoo the hair.
- Rinse the hair with water and vinegar (use two tablespoons of vinegar for each cup of water). The vinegar will help remove the mayonnaise and may also help to discourage reinfestation.
Why remedy works
Any oil or fat can be used to suffocate head lice. The oil coats the lice, cutting off their air supply. You may prefer to use olive oil, which is less likely to become rancid and smelly when left on the hair overnight.
Mayonnaise and other oils can work well for smothering and killing head lice that have already hatched and are in the hair. However, they do not remove nits, the eggs laid by the head lice before they died. If you use this method for getting rid of head lice, you will have to comb the nits out of the hair carefully, using a fine-toothed comb. If you experience a reinfestation of head lice, it is likely that some of the nits were missed when you combed. Fortunately, mayonnaise is a safe, nontoxic treatment – you can apply it as many times as necessary. If you are treating a child with head lice, you will want to quarantine your child from contact with other children until you are certain that the head lice are gone, so that they do not spread to other children. You should also wash bed linens and clothing in very hot water, and dry them using high heat for at least 20 minutes, vacuum carpets and upholstery, wash stuffed animals or put them in airtight bags for two weeks (to kill any lice that may be attached to them), and wash hair care items such as hair bands and brushes using hot water, or soak them in rubbing alcohol.
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